Promotion and a place in next year`s World Cup went out the window when Scotland were held to a 4-4 draw by Slovakia, but Russell Garcia`s charges certainly avoided the drop in style with victories over Portugal and Belarus yesterday to top the relegation pool in the European Indoor Nations Trophy in Poland.
A hat-trick by Menzieshill striker Chris Wilson was the catalyst in a comfortable 5-3 triumph over a stuffy Portuguese outfit. Although the Scots retained most of the possession, keeper Kris Kane and Andrew Thornton both had to look lively on the goal line to prevent the Portuguese taking the lead. But in 12 minutes the Scots went in front with a straight flick by Stephen Dick at a penalty corner.
Within 30 seconds Dick created the next opening and his pass was struck home by Wilson for the second. A mistake by Allan Law lead to the Portuguese pulling one back, but Wilson quickly made it 3-1 at the interval when he converted a set piece following a slip from Dick.
An open play goal for Portugal early in the second half initiated a period of tension with chances at either end. Finally, the Scots took advantage of some indiscipline in the Portuguese ranks, a crude foul on Dick resulted in a penalty corner and Josh Cairns converted the opportunity with a direct strike.
Although the Portuguese brought the score back to 4-3 with only two minutes left, the result was sealed when Wilson scored from another set piece for his hat-trick.
?Although we didn`t play as well as we did against Belarus in the previous game, we were always comfortable against Portugal, in particular we kept our discipline and did well to finally secure fifth place,? Garcia said. ?We`re obviously disappointed not to finish in the top two, but individual and team performance improved significantly as the tournament went on.?
|1. Joshua Cairns||4||3||7|
|3. Richard Smith||5||1||6|